At this time of yuletide cheer we might pause and reflect on the gathering issues confronting Trade Minister David Parker. While New Zealand has the CPTPP under its belt and showing results, the wider prospects are daunting with serious challenges arising principally from the European Union on top of the erosion of the capabilities of the World Trade Organisation.
For years while the EU has uttered endless bromides over prospects for a free trade agreement with NZ, the reality is somewhat different. There have been some steps forward but no breakthrough. Now the going will become harder, especially as the question of how current NZ exports into the EU are divvied up between the Continent and the UK.
Firstly, for the next 12 months (that is, beyond the general election) the EU will be preoccupied with Britain’s exit and fashioning a new trade agreement across the English Channel. This will take up most of London’s trade negotiating bandwidth as it will prioritise other trade deals in terms of economic significance.
This suggests NZ will fall well behind, lagging after the United States, Australia and Canada. President Trump has already tempted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the world’s greatest FTA, or words to that effect. Continue reading “What we call our cheeses is among the several daunting issues facing Trade Minister”